You are here:

College Football/Football arm sleeve


Dear Vic,

I was wondering if football forearm/bicep sleeves are legal in high school, college, NFL, CFL, and Area league.  I am looking at the cutter c-tack, they claim to help grip the ball better. Also what is legal what should i look for in the product labeling, or avoid. example turf-burn, compression, better grip, colors,

Thank you

Thank you for your question.  My rules expertise on this site is only for NCAA & NFHS rules and I do not address Arena, CFL o NFL rules. The product you ask about is not specifically "outlawed", but you must understand that "Any equipment that could provide an unfair advantage to any player" or any "Adhesive material", grease (or any other slippery substance) applied to equipment or a player's person, clothing or attachment is considered illegal.  If you generally follow this you will be fine.  Also remember sometimes you are dealing with marketing of a product and the marketing leads you to believe you are getting an advantage when in fact the same piece of equipment is the same as any other manufacturer and not in violation of the rules.  At this point in time "Arm Sleeves" are not specifically enumerated as illegal equipment.

This appears to be the product you ask about  the concern you should have in looking at this and similar products is are they designed within the rules and the intent of the rules, or is it a product that is creating an unfair advantage by allowing you to "grip the ball better". This has to be taken on a product by product basis.  Remember the Umpire in each game as the final say as to whether it will be considered legal equipment.  Cutters is one of many fine sports equipment manufactures.  I do not endorse any manufacturers as I remain an neutral expert. The manufacturers are to follow the industry standards and the NOCSAE  requirements.  

Max I cannot tell you should i look for in the product regarding example turf-burn, compression, better grip, colors... etc.  This is subjective and up to individual teams, coaches and players [for instance what color you should select is up to you and your team but you need to avoid a color or design that would cause confusion or create an unfair advantage].  I am providing you with some information that may help you make those decisions.   

As for labeling Helmets must carry a warning label regarding the risk of injury and a manufacturer's or reconditioner's certification indicating satisfaction of National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) test standards. Reconditioned helmets shall show recertification to indicate satisfaction with the NOCSAE test standard.  Gloves must have a securely attached label or stamp ("NF/NCAA Specifications") indicating voluntary compliance with test specifications on file with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, unless made of unaltered plain cloth.   Insignia, logos, labels:
- a. Uniforms and all other items of apparel (e.g., warm-ups, socks, headbands, T-shirts, wristbands, visors, hats or gloves) may bear only a single manufacturer's or distributor's normal label or trademark (regardless of the visibility of the label or trademark) not to exceed 2 1/4 square inches in area (i.e., rectangle, square, parallelogram) including any additional material (e.g., patch) surrounding the normal trademark or logo.
-b. No sizing, garment-care or other non-logo labels shall be on the outside of the uniform.
-c. Professional league logos are prohibited.

Details Regarding Illegal Equipment
1. Hard or unyielding substances are permitted, if covered, only to protect an injury.
2. Hand and arm protectors (covered casts or splints) are permitted only to protect a fracture or dislocation.
3. Thigh guards may not be made of any hard substances, unless all surfaces are covered with material such as closed-cell vinyl foam that is at least 1/4-inch thick on the outside surface and at least 3/8-inch thick on the inside surface and the overlaps of the edges.
4. Shin guards must be covered on both sides and all edges with closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding at least 1/2-inch thick, or an alternate material of the same minimum thickness having similar physical properties.
5. Therapeutic or preventive knee braces must be worn under the pants and entirely covered from direct external exposure.
6. There may be no projection of metal or other hard substance from a player's person or clothing.
7. Shoe cleats (Rule 9-2-2-d) must conform to the following specifications:
a. They may not be more than 1/2-inch in length (measured from tip of cleat to the shoe). (See below for an exception for detachable cleats.)Note: The distance for detachable cleats may exceed inch if the cleat is attached to a 5/32-inch or less raised platform wider than the base of the cleat and extended across the width of the shoe to within 1/4-inch or less of the outer edges of the sole. A single toe cleat does not require a raised platform that extends across the width of the sole. The raised platform of the toe cleat is limited to 5/32-inch or less. The 5/32-inch or less is measured from the lowest point of the platform to the sole of the shoe.
b. They may not be made of any material that burrs, chips or fractures.
c. They may not have abrasive surfaces or cutting edges.
e. Nondetachable cleats only may not be made of any metallic material.
f. Detachable cleats:
1) Must have an effective locking device.
(2) May not have concave sides.
3) If conical they may not have flat free ends not parallel to their bases or less than 3/8-inch in diameter or rounded free ends having arcs greater than 7/16-inch.
(4) If oblong they may not have free ends not parallel with bases or that measure less than 1/4-inch by 3/4-inch.
(5) If circular or ring-shaped they must have rounded edges and a wall at least 3/16-inch thick.
(6) If steel-tipped they must contain low carbon steel of 1006 material, case hardened to .005-.008 depth and drawn to Rockwell hardness of approximately C55.
8. The facemask must be constructed of nonbreakable material with rounded edges covered with resilient material designed to prevent chipping, burrs or an abrasiveness that would endanger players.
9. Shoulder pads may not have the leading edge of the epaulet rounded with a radius more than one-half the thickness of the material used.
10. No equipment that endangers other players may be worn. This includes artificial limbs.
(a) An artificial limb must not give the wearer any advantage in competition.
(b) If necessary, the artificial limb should be padded to rebound as a natural limb.

College Football

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Vic Winnek


Liability Issues (Legal & Insurance) arising from coaching, playing, refereeing, product liability; Football injury cases.


Liability Issues (Legal & Insurance) arising from coaching, playing, refereeing, product liability.



INDEPENDENT EXPERT objective opinions.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients

©2017 All rights reserved.